Brasserie Le Pont Restaurant Leeson St. Bridge
25 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.
Brasserie le Pont is open for about a year now, and this elegant and contemporary restaurant in one of the fine Georgian buildings at the top of Fitzwilliam Street is a welcome addition to this particular part of Georgian Dublin.
Brasserie Le Pont is in the basement of number 25, but this is no pokey little place. The owners have clearly spent a not so small fortune transforming it into a very stylish space indeed. Inside there is a long bar area with high tables and chairs opposite, perfect for a pre dinner drink, or sharing a bottle of wines with friends after work. The main dining area runs off to the left after the bar and the décor is contemporary coffee and cream, with well spaced tables, some almost invisible they are so discreet booths and a room width banquette across the back wall, which would serve a treat for larger parties. There is also another room off the top, which can be closed off for private dining, or acts as a spill over room when the restaurant is packed.
We take a seat in the back corner and set about choosing from two menus, a set affair offering two courses for €22.95 or three for €26, and the A la Carte. We nibble of some tomato and fennel bread and sip sparkling water as we choose, opting for the A la Carte.
The food is classic, starters include a Dublin Bay prawn cocktail, scallops and black pudding, pan fried Foie Gras and a ballantine of quail. Main courses offer loin of Wicklow venison, pan fried Halibut, a rump of Wexford lamb and a Le Pont fish pie. Starters are easy, I’ve never met a prawn cocktail I didn’t want to eat, and Abi likes her scallops. Main courses were going to be a fish pie and either the lamb or venison, but a last minute intervention by our waitress put paid to that. I don’t usually order steak on reviews; they don’t tax the kitchen, and are ubiquitous. However the three cuts were brought out on a board, a fillet, the rib eye and the rump of lamb. The whole 28 days hanging, Kilkenny farm personally known to the chef etc are explained and suddenly I’m ordering a rib eye with chips and peppercorn sauce, and Abi has decided that wild mushroom risotto beats fish pie, so we’re set.
The prawn cocktail is generous, the prawns are tender and juicy and the sauce is pretty good, but I’m not blown away. On the other hand the pan seared scallops are served with great black pudding, and the main ingredients are sitting around swirls of artichoke puree and very small cubes of caramelised apple. Classic scallop dish, perfectly cooked and the puree and apple soften the interaction and textures of the pudding and scallops and the dish is perfectly balanced. Fantastic.
The rib eye steak is tender, but not too so, the flavour from this marbled meat is excellent, while the chips are crispy outside and fluffy inside. The pepper sauce is used to dip the chips - the meat doesn’t need anything - and the dish is dressed with rocket and tomato salad. Really very good food, but Abigail’s wild mushroom risotto is a triumph of flavour and texture - no al dente rubbish with this rice - and the whole plate if cleared.
We force our selves to have a baked chocolate fondant with cherry compote, almost a deconstructed Black Forest, more Heston than Kylemore, and it’s a delicious end to a very good meal.
Brasserie le Pont is serving classic dishes in a pleasing room with fine service. There is a huge terrace outside which would be lovely in summer, and there may be plans to use the upstairs rooms for more private functions or small weddings. As a restaurant it works very well indeed, and a return visit for crab pop corn and Wicklow venison is on the cards.